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Monroe County secures grant to install 911 texting service

WOODSFIELD — Monroe County residents will be able to text message 911 by early next year, thanks to a grant secured by county officials.

The Monroe County Emergency Management Agency, along with six other surrounding counties, secured nearly $80,000 in funding to install text-to-911 software.

EMA Director Phil Keevert made the announcement during Monday’s Monroe County Board of Commissioners meeting.

“A grant we applied for with six other counties, which was the Text-to-911 grant, all six counties got approved,” he said.

The text-to-911 system allows residents using a cell phone the capability to send text messages to the 911 center. Keevert said each county will receive approximately $11,000 to cover the software and its installation.

However the total cost is around $20,000. The other portion will come from a county match, he said.

“There was a county obligation on that as well. We will probably see that coming due by the end of the year,” he said.

Keevert said the county’s portion may come out of the 911 reimbursement fund.

“We’ll have to check and see what kind of funds we have in there. We try to carry a little extra for equipment and upgrades. It’s very possible that the money is still laying there for that,” he said.

The county’s match must be reimbursed to the state by early 2021.

The software requires the Next Generation 911 phone system that the county installed in 2017.

“You can only upgrade if you had the Next Generation in place to be able to use that option,” Keevert said. “I believe by 2022 most of the counties in Ohio will be next-gen.”

According to the National 911 Program, the NG911 system helps to improve the ability to help manage call overload, natural disasters and transferring of 911 calls and proper jurisdictional responses based on location tracking.

Keevert also requested commissioners’ approval to file for another grant — the Emergency Management Performance Grant.

The FEMA funded EMPG provides financial support to state and local governments.

The grant could provide the EMA with up to $10,086 for COVID-19 related expenses. The funding also requires a 50 percent match from the county.

“I just want to be able to secure the grant so we don’t lose out on the opportunity to get the funds,” Keevert said.

Commissioner Carl Davis made a motion to allow the EMA’s filing for the grant, Commissioner Tim Price seconded the motion. Commissioner Mick Schumacher agreed and it was unanimously passed.

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